From the Tucson Citizen:
Crackdown has illegal immigrants leaving Arizona
The Arizona Republic
NOGALES, Sonora - It's a common scene this time of year: streams of overloaded cars, pickups and vans with U.S. license plates crossing into Mexico for the holidays.
Most are filled with Hispanic families from Arizona and other states on their way to visit relatives south of the border for a few weeks before heading back to the U.S.
But this year, the holiday travelers are being joined by scores of families such as Jorge and Liliana Franco, who are driving to Mexico not to visit but to stay - permanently.
Congress' failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform, immigration crackdowns, Arizona's new employer-sanctions law and a sluggish economy have combined to create a climate families such as the Francos no longer find hospitable.
The number returning to Mexico is difficult to calculate, but there is no question that many families are leaving, according to Mexican government officials, local community leaders and immigrants themselves.
"The situation in Arizona has become very tough," Jorge said minutes after driving into a Mexican immigration and customs checkpoint south of the border on Mexico 15.
Dozens of immigrants are leaving the U.S. daily, and even more are expected to leave once the sanctions law takes effect in January, provided the law survives a last-minute legal challenge, said Rosendo Hernandez, president of the advocacy group Immigrants Without Borders.
"If people can't find work, they won't be able to pay their bills, so they will leave," Hernandez said.
In what are considered bellwethers of permanent moves back to Mexico, the Mexican consulate in Phoenix has seen a dramatic increase in applications for Mexican birth certificates, passports and other documents that immigrants living in Arizona will need to return home.
In November alone, the consulate processed 240 applications for Mexican birth certificates, three times as many as the same month last year, said Carlos Flores Vizcarra, Mexican consul general of Phoenix.
The consulate also has processed more than 16,500 applications for Mexican passports this year, nearly twice as many as last year. Vizcarra attributed some of the demand for passports to stricter travel regulations among the U.S., Mexico and Canada slated to take effect in January. But he said many illegal immigrants are applying for passports in case they lose their jobs due to the sanctions law or a slowdown in the economy and therefore want to go back and live in Mexico.
"People are fearful. They are getting ready as much as they can (to leave)," he said.
Mexican officials and border authorities expect southbound traffic to rise significantly this week as Christmas approaches.
The exodus has drawn cheers from foes of illegal immigration.
"That is the whole purpose of the (sanctions) law," said state Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, "to not only stop people from coming, but to have these who are here illegally go back to whence they came. They shouldn't be here."
The Pew Hispanic Center estimates there are 500,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona, and they make up about 9 percent of the state's population. Illegal immigrants make up 10 percent to 12 percent of the work force, according to Pew and the Center for Immigration Studies.
The economy could be devastated if all were to leave, advocates say. But Kavanagh, one of the most outspoken backers of the sanctions law, doubts the law will have much impact on Arizona's economy. He hopes any economic problems caused by illegal immigrants leaving Arizona will pressure Congress to create a guest-worker program to allow more foreign-born workers to enter legally to help fill labor gaps.
But unlike illegal immigrants, guest workers will enter in "an orderly and legal fashion with screening," he said.
Leaving for good
On Mexico 15 on the outskirts of Nogales, Son., the Francos were getting ready for the final leg of their journey from Arizona to Ciudad Obregon, their hometown six hours south of the border.
Jorge, 34, was driving an extended-cab Ford F-150 pickup that was so overloaded with the family's belongings that the vehicle no longer looked safe for highway travel.
The bed of the pickup sagged under the weight of a full-size refrigerator, an air-conditioning unit, a television and a microwave oven, while the Francos' three young children grew restless inside the cab.
Franco's wife, Liliana, 25, drove a second vehicle. Her Dodge minivan was packed just as full, with clothing, toys and household items. Several suitcases that didn't fit inside had been lashed to the roof.
Living in Wickenburg
The couple said they had lived in Wickenburg for the past five years. They and their two children had originally entered the United States legally with tourist visas and then stayed beyond the expiration dates. The couple had no legal status to work in the U.S., but both were able to get jobs using fake documents, Jorge at a small landscaping company, Liliana at a Burger King. Two years ago, their third child, Michael, was born in Arizona, making him a U.S. citizen.
The couple said life for them in Arizona began to unravel earlier this year when Congress failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform. The collapse caused the Francos to give up hope that Congress would pass a legalization program anytime soon. Then, Gov. Janet Napolitano signed Arizona's employer-sanctions law.
The law threatens to suspend or revoke business licenses from employers caught knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. It also requires employers to use a federal computer program to electronically verify the employment eligibility of new hires.
The law takes effect Jan. 1, and several business groups are suing to have the law tossed out, claiming it is unconstitutional. Nevertheless, thousands of illegal immigrants have been let go as worried employers conduct reviews of I-9s, the federal forms employers are required to use to verify the employment eligibility of their workers.
In November, employers checked the Francos' employment records and discovered they had used false documents to get their jobs, the couple said. Both were let go.
The Francos tried getting other jobs but were turned down every place they applied.
"Everyone wants a good Social Security number now," Liliana said.
The couple said a crackdown on illegal immigration by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio also prompted them to move back to Mexico. Sheriff's deputies trained to enforce immigration laws have been arresting illegal immigrants in the Wickenburg area, and the couple feared their family would be split apart if one of them got deported.
Earlier this month, they sold their trailer home in Wickenburg and began packing their bags. They also took their oldest child, Yulissa, 7, a second-grader at Hassayampa Elementary School, out of school.
What did they plan to do for work in Mexico?
Jorge shook his head. He didn't know. Then, after clearing immigration and customs, the couple climbed back inside the pickup and the minivan and drove back onto the highway, headed south.
Ok so lets disect this just a bit shall we?
Can anyone tell me how many laws were broken by this couple in this story? Anyone?? Buehler??? Buehler??
I count at least 2
1. Entering the country illegally.
2. Using forged documents to get employment
And yet some will say, "But they were only being good contributors, they were working hard and not breaking the law" Uh yeah...right. Go back home and try re-entering legally.
And when they get back? No work for them. Mexico fails to provide for their own people and they will live in poverty. Well, that is the way it goes isnt it? I feel bad for them, but maybe its time for these people to start pressuring the Mexican government instead of our government to provide for them. We built our economy, dont mooch off it and build your own.
On a related note:
Judge looks disinclined to block sanctions law
Says businesses' hardships may take a back seat
By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 12.19.2007
PHOENIX — A federal judge said Tuesday that the interests of Arizonans at the lower end of the economy may trump any hardships on businesses forced to comply with the state's new employer sanctions law.
U.S. District Judge Neil Wake listened to attorneys for business groups who told him he should block state and county officials from enforcing Arizona's new employer-sanctions law, at least for the time being.
Wake promised a ruling by the end of the week. Business attorneys said if he denies their request they will file an immediate appeal.
Lou Moffa Jr., who represents some of the challengers to the law, said it is unfair to force businesses to comply with the law, set to take effect Jan. 1, while its constitutionality is being contested in court.
If nothing else, he said there is a financial cost to companies to use the federal government's E-Verify system to check the legal status of new workers, one of the requirements of the law.
Conversely, Moffa said there is no hardship on the state or counties if they don't enforce the law until its legality is determined.
Wake, however, said that ignores one of the underlying purposes of the law: to ensure that undocumented workers do not take jobs from those in this country legally.
"What about the people at the bottom" of the economy? Wake asked.
"Unauthorized workers compete with people who just struggle with the bare necessities of life," the judge continued. "There's no one in the courtroom who represents the 100,000 Arizonans living on the edge of poverty."
But attorney Paul Eckstein, also representing some business interests, said leaving the law the way it has been for years — with no state penalties for hiring undocumented workers and no requirement to use E-Verify — is no big deal.
"Another 45 days … is spit in the ocean here," he said.
And David Selden, another business attorney, said the law does not require companies to check whether all those on their payrolls Jan. 1 are here legally. Instead, he said, it applies only to people hired on or after that date.
"The labor market in Arizona … is not going to be affected."
The issue is crucial: Judges are required to consider the "balance of hardships" in deciding whether to issue a restraining order blocking enforcement of a law while its validity is litigated.
Tuesday's hearing followed Wake's decision earlier this month to throw out the original legal challenges to the law.
Wake said the business groups should have sued the 15 county attorneys charged with enforcing the law; instead they sued the state.
A new lawsuit filed less than 10 days ago adds those county attorneys.
Wake promised Tuesday to hear the new arguments Jan. 16, a date he said is as fast as possible to ensure that the new defendants have time to prepare. The judge also got representatives of various county attorneys to essentially promise they won't bring charges against anyone before Feb. 1.
Eileen GilBride, representing Maricopa County, said it's an easy promise to make, as there is no way a complaint against an employer can be fully investigated between now and then.
But Moffa told Wake that still leaves the economic burden of having to use the E-Verify system.
There is no charge by the federal government. But Moffa submitted legal papers that the price tag for each business could run $1,800 a year, with costs ranging from purchasing computers and Internet access to the time and expense of actually running the checks on all new workers.
The business groups' demand to put the law on hold also comes with a not-so-veiled warning that failure to do so could end up costing taxpayers money.
Selden said that $1,800 cost multiplied by 150,000 Arizona businesses computes out to $270 million a year in expenses. He said if the law ultimately is declared unconstitutional, businesses could legitimately argue that they were forced to expend money unnecessarily and demand reimbursement from the government.
And Moffa said putting the law on hold actually saves money for the counties that won't have to begin investigations.
That brought a sharp response from Mary O'Grady, the state's solicitor general. She called it "rather disingenuous" for businesses to claim they are protecting the taxpayers while hinting they may sue for damages.
Wake hinted that if he grants a delay in enforcing the law, he may force the challengers to post a bond.
The judge noted the state sent out notices to all employers earlier this year informing them of the new law and the requirements to comply.
One commenter on the article sums it up quite well:
2. Comment by Gary H. (#6099) — December 19,2007 @ 4:59AM
Ratings: -0 +2
"another 45 days is spit in the ocean"
Guess it tells you that these lawyers as well as the businesses that have hired them know how vast the problem is. If the illegals are taken out of the picture and LEGAL workers get the jobs the economy just might turn around a bit. We know that economic status of the new workers will definately improve.
On another website a suggestion was made to replace the illegals with those on welfare.
OH NO NOT COMMON SENSE!!!!!! SAY IT IS SO!!!!!!!
Screw you red diaper doper baby liberal asshats, stop using the courts for legislating.
Labels: countering the lies, doing the right thing, Freedom Folks, Ilegal Immigration, immigration, liberals suck, screw the left